man with a television for a head stares at a brain

Letter From the Editor—Madness

By Mikki Halpin

Trying to define madness is…maddening. Is madness good or bad? Should you take a pill to get there, or take one to make sure you stay away? Is it where you arrive when you go down the rabbit hole, break on through to the other side, or travel one step beyond? Is it a chorus of angels or a scary voice in your head? Is it painful chaos or erotic delight? Edvard Munch’s The Scream or Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights? Are you being driven mad by all these questions?


To me, the ecstatic visions of madness have always been a little bit scarier than the actual scary ones. It seems like whenever someone gives themselves over to pleasurable abandon, there’s a price to pay (just ask Violet Beauregarde). But maybe I’m missing out. We all need a little madness, according to DJ Jasmine Solano, who spoke to us this month about the ecstatic release she sees on the dance floor every night. When we let go of the everyday, she says, we allow ourselves to experience pure joy—an emotional high that can have political resonance in a space that is often a gathering place for marginalized communities.  


Speaking of revolution, our Madness Hotline (1-833-DAMN-MAD) will spin your reality as you navigate our phone game that includes everything from the Partridge Family to Rachel Maddow to an environmental hotline and, of course, the nine circles of hell. Special points if you get to the part with Al Pacino. Call now!


And don’t miss the surreal fashion funhouse that photographer Amanda Jasnowski Pascual and stylist Savannah White created for the issue. Suddenly wearing a belt as a bra makes perfect sense—if nothing else, can we at least have the freedom to wear what we want to and be as weird as we want to? I say this as someone who used to wear a tube top as a neck scarf, but I swear I pulled it off.


There’s lots more to discover as you wander around our madhouse. I hope you love it! As always, send any comments to


Mikki Halpin
Editor in chief






Header image: frankie's via Shutterstock.
Published 3-13-18